About a year back I was asked to explore some concepts for a digital home of the future. The following are some concept notes I thought I'd share.
- Technology should augment the experince of being at home. It should not pester, annoy, interfeer or intrude.
- Technology should be there when I need it and hidden otherwise
- Technology should serve a human purpose, it should not be for show
- The cell phone is the primary control device, no extra displays, intercoms or other wall mounted technology
Entering the house
- House detects the car coming home and begins to prep the environment. The house is no longer in hibernation mode saving energy, the boiler warms up, the temperature is increased 5 degrees, the house lights are setup for the time of day.
- Keyless entry, allows a person to walk in with groceries without reaching in their pocket.
- Music from your car playlist is synced with your house music so the song that was halfway done can be resumed (at your request)
- Other people in the house are alterted to your arrival, tv's & computers show a notification and possibly show video of the entry way
- People who don't have a key can be buzzed in from a cell phone
- As you enter the center of the house along the floor you can see the household family members names outlined in text and lightly projected on the floor with arrows telling you where different people are in the house. No need to yell or go looking for people. Following the arrows leads you to the people.
Food and Dining
- When you pull up a recipie on the kitchen computer selecting an ingredient illuminates a shelf, the handle to the fridge or a cabinet drawer allowing you to quickly find items for your recipie.
- The computer keeps track of food items in the house via RFID and recommends recipies based on the food you have and the prep-time that you would like. The computer knows when the skillet is on the stove and when food is in the skillet (by weight), it can adjust the temperature to match the recipie, pre-heat the oven, etc.
- If you tell it you want a particular meal it'll put together a shopping list. You can either pickit up yourself or get the ingredients delivered.
TV and Entertainment
- Your cell phone is the universal remote control with directional controls and a small screen can be used anywhere in the house.
- Point the remote at the TV and you can change channels, use a DVR play music, etc.
- Point the remote at a light and the screen shows you that you can turn the light up/down/off
- Point it at the door and you can open/close/lock
- Point it at a window and you can open/close/ or control the AC in the house
- Point it at a speaker and you can control the volume
- Magic Mirror - shows you what parts of your face you missed while shaving
- Displays your daily calendar in the morning, allows you to start coffee maker as you get out of the shower
- Reminds you to take your pills/vitamins
- Digital newspaper/magazine for when you are sitting down ;)
- There is no wiring. Or at least almost no wiring. Typically when someone builds a showcase house or a tech house they like to tought the fact that there are 5000 miles of wires and cables though the house. This is a bad bad thing. This means:
- A no one can maintain or repair the house becuse it's so complex.
- No one could ever build such a house because of the infrastructure cost.
I true house of the future would just have electrical wiring through the body of the house perhaps a duel plug that supports both AC and DC power. All video, audio and ethernet data should be wireless. A home server should sit in the basement storing files, backing things up and managing the complexity.